By Karen Healey
Little, Brown and Company
The seasons in New Zealand are the opposite of those in America. During the Christmas season, they traditionally celebrate under the hot summer sun and look forward to the New Year’s Eve celebration in the scenic tourist town of Summerton.
A death in any family can cause an immense amount of hurt. For Keri and her family, they are devastated since the death of her older brother, Jack. He committed suicide and did not even leave a note. Besides the grief, dealing with the questions is difficult for everyone. Her parents decided to even cancel Christmas this year. Even though Keri is seventeen-years-old, she understands that the funeral was costly but she still feels disappointed.
Keri is surprised when she is approached by two other teens that also had older brothers who committed suicide. Strangely, this does seem to be unusually coincidental, and leads the three to believe that perhaps the suicides were really murders. With Keri is Janna who is a beautiful musician and Sione who is a visiting tourist with a brilliant mathematical mind as together they investigate the deaths while also attempting to prevent any further suicides.
The subject of teen suicide does not engage most readers. However, Karen Healey worked wonders writing this intense novel. The story was constantly moving along with the characters as both simultaneously were developing. Most outstanding in this novel was the realistic characterization along with a well-planned and organized story.
Karen Healey has also written Guardian of the Dead which was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award. She lives in Australia but was born in New Zealand.
When the threesome discovers that witchcraft has influenced both the community and them, the danger for everyone is greatly intensified. Will they live through the New Years’ Eve? Will anyone else die? How can more deaths be prevented?